If you’ve suffered damages from another party’s negligence then hiring a personal injury attorney is a smart choice: an attorney can investigate your case, gather evidence, build your claim, present documentation to an insurance adjuster, negotiate for a settlement, and more. However, while claimants should expect their attorney to work hard on their behalf and handle the most important elements of their claim, they should not simply hand their case over to their attorney and hope for the best. Instead, it is important to stay on top of your case throughout the entire process, including after you hire an attorney. Here are some things to be aware of, and tips for improving the outcome of your personal injury claim:
Call Your Attorney to Check in and Ask Questions on a Regular Basis
If you hire a good lawyer, your lawyer will check in with you regularly to update you on the status of your claim, provide you with information you need to know, and ask questions and give you an opportunity to ask questions as well. But not all lawyers are as good as they should be, and attorneys–just like everyone else–can often be overwhelmed by the job or downright busy. If you haven’t heard from your attorney in a few days (or a few weeks, depending upon what stage in the claim process you’re in), don’t hesitate to reach out. Even if your attorney is fantastic, there’s no harm in staying on top of your case.
Keep an Injury Journal
One way that you can aid your attorney and potentially improve the outcome of your case is to keep an injury journal, which should be started as soon as possible following your accident. An injury journal is a great way to document both the extent and the duration of your injuries, and can be used as evidence when seeking damages for pain and suffering. If you have questions about what the journal should include, ask your lawyer.
Your attorney won’t be able to adequately perform their job if you are not honest about how the accident happened, what you were doing at the time of injury, and how you are healing. While you surely want your claim to be resolved quickly and in your favor, withholding or exaggerating the truth, or being anything less than 100 percent truthful will only hurt, not help, your case.
Avoid Talking About Your Claim with Others
The urge to talk to others, including friends, family members, and perhaps even co-workers or the cashier at the grocery store, may be pressing. However, discussing your claim with others, especially those outside of your immediate family, is not recommended. You never know who is listening, and statements that you make could undermine your credibility. In fact, it is not uncommon for insurance adjusters to deploy investigators who may go so far as to follow you around and monitor your activities. Keeping a low profile while your claim is processing is best.
Be Wary of Social Media
The use of social media while an injury claim is being pursued is something that should be done very carefully. As mentioned above, insurance adjusters may be watching you closely, and there is no easier way to obtain information about a claimant than online. Never talk about your accident online, be very careful about posting pictures or location check-ins that could imply that you’re not as injured as you claim to be, and never accept friend or follow requests from people you don’t know. Our attorneys strongly recommend setting all of your profiles to private while your claim is processing, and to consider discontinuing social media use altogether until your claim is settled.
Don’t Speak with the Insurance Company/Defendant without Your Attorney
Finally, be careful about approaching or responding to the insurance company or the defendant in your case without your attorney by your side. You should also refrain from taking any actions related to your case without running the decision by your attorney first.
At the law offices of Olmstead & Olmstead, P.C., our attorneys are experienced in personal injury law and confident in our ability to guide you through the claims process and maximize your settlement. Please send us a message using the contact form on our website, visit us in person, or call us at 703-361-1555 today for your consultation.